I mentioned in my post about Epicurus’s Birthday that we’d had a family book club night to celebrate. Epicurus loved good food, good people, and good conversation, so it seemed like an appropriate celebration. But everyone got really interested in the book club, so I am including some details here!
- We are a family of four: two adults, a late teen, Amita (16) and an early teen, Stavro (13). We all read for pleasure, 15-50 books per year. You may need to adjust your expectations if your family has wildly different reading levels or practices.
- In discussing how to keep ourselves mentally and emotionally healthy during this Omicron lockdown in Quebec, Amita suggested a book club. She had an intention to read The Hound of the Baskervilles for some reason; maybe for school? Or just because she’s into mysteries? Regardless, that seemed like a good choice. It was at a reading level that everyone could handle. The fact that it’s in the public domain and available gratis on both Project Gutenberg and Librivox meant we could all get started reading it immediately without waiting for a delivery to show up, or sharing a single copy and waiting for the others to finish before starting.
- We agreed to do two book club sessions. The first when we were partway through the book, and the second when we were finished.
- Getting everyone to read the book was hard. I read the first half of the book as an audiobook, then looped back and read it again for completeness. I think Maj, the other adult, got a few chapters in; both teens got 1-2 chapters in, on the day of the book club.
- We bumped the book club meeting a few times because we had schedule conflicts. Minecraft sessions, D&D, other clubs and games and so on. It’s hard to get 4 people in a household to sit down together!
- We ended up on Epicurus’s birthday randomly, but the synchronicity amused me, so I stood firm on not postponing any more.
- Maj made a wine-and-cheese book club supper for us to enjoy while we book clubbed. Unfortunately due to our complex network of selective misophonias, we had to stagger our eating and drinking, but we managed to get some snacks and discussions in.
- Maj suggested the format for the book club: everyone had to come to the meeting with one discussion question inspired by the text. Hers was, “Is Sherlock a good friend to Watson?” Mine was, “Is it important for you as a reader to solve the mystery on your own?” Each person asked their question, and then we’d discuss it for a while. When we ran out of steam, we moved on to the next question.
- Because we’d all listened to the book or read it electronically, we didn’t have the books in hand while we discussed. That was OK; we went from memory rather than shuffling pages to find quotes to support our discussion points.
- It went great. The kids really enjoyed talking about the book. We drifted topics quite a lot, which was OK; the point was to have a good conversation. Everyone is excited about finishing the book and having our final session next week.
I hope that satisfies any curiosity! And if you’re going to have a family book club on your own, let me know.